Statements & Consultation Responses


Consultation Responses

Impact Assessment Evaluation and Fitness Check Roadmap of the European Social Fund (2014-2020)

This evaluation will assess:

  • how the European Social Fund (ESF) promotes social inclusion (integrating disadvantaged people into society and ensuring fairer life opportunities for all) and combats poverty/discrimination;
  • structural reforms;
  • the visibility, usefulness, relevance, value for money and effectiveness of ESF measures.

As basis for Public Consultation planned for Q3 2019.

Submitted online on 16 January 2019. See our evaluation here.

Fitness Check Roadmap


The European Social Fund (ESF) is a major financial instrument to help pursue the Europe 2020 strategy’s objectives for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, building up a more social Europe, guided by the European Pillar of Social Rights, and in line with the European Semester. Well-functioning health systems across Europe are central to meeting the headline targets of this strategic vision, particularly those relating to employment, education and social inclusion performance. For EuroHealthNet, ESF represents a valuable instrument to reduce health inequalities between and within EU Member States and further boost investments in structural determinants of health, health promotion and disease prevention measures.

Income and wealth inequality, and the associated levels of health inequalities are persistent and growing in many EU countries. Most EU Member States systematically allocate more than the required 20% of the ESF national resources to promote “social inclusion, combating poverty and any discrimination”(1), showing more ambitious investments are needed to address common social challenges. Evidence from EU funded initiatives that EuroHealthNet has been involved in (ESIF for Health(2), Equity Action(3)) and feedback from our members reflect how ESF can be used to make an impact on social inclusion and the reduction of poverty through action in the areas of health and wellbeing. They reflect that ESF is applied across the EU on a range of initiatives that e.g. improve the provision and quality of health and social care, incl. health promoting services, and strengthen capacities within these systems to provide accessible and quality services, particularly for socially vulnerable people. In many cases, these measures also boost cooperation between health and other key sectors.

Only a fraction of ESF funds are however currently being spent on such actions, and more can be done to maximise the impact of ESF in these areas, and to society at large. More can for example be done to raise awareness amongst professionals in other keys sectors like health about the funds, and to build capacities to enable them to engage, both strategically and practically. Furthermore, the administrative burden of obtaining and administering the funds should be reduced, including for smaller (civil society) organisations that are nevertheless crucial service providers and economic actors. In addition, projects cannot just of themselves deliver systemic change; they must be part of a broader strategy that aims to do this. The EU and its MS must in this respect acknowledge that social policy, health policy, environmental policy and economic outcomes are tightly inter-related, and encourage the implementation of strategies and programmes that deliver co-benefits across sectors. MS must therefore be encouraged to combine the use of EU funds for greater impact, and to invest as much in people (services, capacity building, learning exchange, awareness) as in hard infrastructure projects, as Slovenia and Latvia (4) have done by combining EDRF and ESF to achieve national strategic objectives.

Looking to the future EU budget and its ESF+, we call on these to emphasise the need to address inequalities in our societies, with a focus on fairness, vulnerability and early years. Performance indicators should, in addition, be applied that are aligned to the Social Scoreboard and were possible the SDG indicators, and other reputable measures of equity and wellbeing (5).



1. Regulation No. 1304/2013

2. Mc.Guinn J, Ganche M et al. ESIF for For Health. Investing for a healthy and inclusive EU. Milieu, 2018

3. Stegeman, I, Kuipers Y. Health Equity and Regional Development in the EU, Applying the EU Structural Funds, EuroHealthNet, 2013

4. EuroHealthNet Online Magazine, 2018 summer edition

5. A Healthy Budget? Analysis of the MFF 2021-27, EuroHealthNet



Letter to EPSCO Council: The need for more effective investments and reforms towards sustainable health and care systems

Brussels, 5 December 2018


Dear Ministers of Health and Social Policy,

Dear Health and Social Policy Attaches,


As the December EU Employment, Social Policy, Health & Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) meets within the Austrian Presidency this 6-7 December to discuss the European Semester 2019 cycle, EuroHealthNet recommends you to take this important opportunity to act for more effective investments and reforms towards sustainable health and care systems including health promotion, disease prevention, and measures tackling health inequalities[i]. These approaches are also cost-effective, bringing high social return on investment[ii].  A move to a more social European Semester is good for health, good economically, and crucial for reducing health and social inequalities.

As the Annual Growth Survey 2019 (AGS) shows, despite broadly positive economic progress, significant social inequalities persist and, in some cases, have widened in our societies. The economic recovery has not yet reached all people to an equal degree and inequality of opportunities persist.  Poor living and working conditions are linked with poor and unequal health and wellbeing gains. This situation is echoed in recent important reports Health at A Glance 2018[iii] and Inequalities in Access to Healthcare[iv].

Encouraged by progress in applying the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights and its – now updated - Social Scoreboard, we support the Semester’s potential contribution to monitoring social, health and wellbeing policies. Social inclusion policies and universal timely access to quality affordable health and care services can be further promoted in all Member States. Building resilience and capacities in health and social systems will be vital in 2019 and beyond given the risks indicated in the AGS.  

EuroHealthNet reiterates its concern that prioritisation and direct funding for health promotion, disease prevention, and achieving health equity remain insufficient to make the sustainable impacts which you as Ministers have recommended in previous Council Conclusions and are reiterated in the AGS. While average annual total budgets for health promotion across Europe have stalled at 2.5% of total health spending, 70-80% of health-related costs are caused by largely preventable chronic diseases[v].  The European Commission’s own implementation analysis of the European Semester process shows[vi] that the strengthened Structural Reform Programme can help implement sustainable transformations and reorientation which bring multiple co-benefits to States.

We welcome the AGS highlighting that “the experience of civil society organisations plays an important role to ensure that reforms are designed and implemented effectively. Yet the degree of engagement with societal stakeholders varies significantly among member states, with insufficient capacity to actively participate in the policy debate being an issue in some of them”. In EuroHealthNet’s published report[vii] of our work with partners in Member States and analysis of the 2018 European Semester cycle, we explain why important voices remain unheard and offer concrete recommendations for using the Semester mechanisms as tools for addressing health equity from a socioeconomic determinants of health perspective. Putting the expertise of public health professionals and authorities central is key to the Semester Process.

This respects your national rights in the organisation and delivery of social and health care, and also enhances the principles of the EU Pillar of Social Rights and the competences of the EU treaties objectives for wellbeing and public health protection across all EU policies. This also prepares for the planned integration of EU health and social programmes within the ESF+ budget provisions of the Multi Annual Financial Framework 2021-27 and helps to prepare towards the new Horizon Europe and Invest EU Programmes.

EuroHealthNet works with partners for sustainable development actions towards the universal SDGs, and urges integration of cross cutting social, economic, and environmental sustainability metrics, indicators and measures in the EU Semester, which are crucial towards achieving social sustainability and wellbeing targets.

I therefore recommend you take concrete steps in the EPSCO Council to put better health for all, social equity and sustainable wellbeing at the core of the policy and implementation measures within the EU Semester in 2019 and beyond.  

To make this happen, you can count on our continuous support and collaboration.


Yours faithfully,

Caroline Costongs                                                                           

Director, EuroHealthNet



EuroHealthNet is the leading Partnership for Health, Equity and Wellbeing in Europe, with key activities in policy, practice as well as research. Its unique focus is on reducing health inequalities through action on the social determinants of health, integrating sustainable development goals, and contributing to the transformation of health systems. Its main members are authorities and statutory bodies responsible for public health, health promotion and disease prevention at national, regional and local level.


[i] EuroHealthNet (2018). EuroHealthNet calls for new and improved approaches to financing for health promotion and health equity. Statement.

[ii] Masters, R. et al. (2016). Return on investment of public health interventions: a systematic review. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, vol.71(8)

[iii] OECD (2018). Health at a Glance: Europe 2018. State of Health in the EU Cycle.

[iv] ESPN (2018). Inequalities in access to healthcare. Thematic report.

[v] ibid

[vi] Health-related Country Specific Recommendations receive the least attention and the lowest level of national implementation among all other areas (see: European Commission Communication on the CSRs 2018    

EuroHealthNet becomes acredited to attend meetings of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe

Oral Statement on EUR/RC68/13 Engagement with non-State actors: Accreditation of regional non-State actors not in official relations with WHO to attend meetings of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe

September, Rome

Madam Chair, Mr President, honourable ministers, distinguished delegates, dear colleagues,

On behalf of all 19 non-State actors[1], we thank the Regional Committee for approving our accreditation, in line with the Framework of Engagement with non-State actors (FENSA). It is with great honour that we  will continue to participate in the WHO Regional Committee for Europe and we would like to reaffirm our commitment to working with all stakeholders towards our shared goals.

The commitment to engage with non-State actors demonstrates to us the importance that is given by WHO to collaboration with civil society. As representatives of citizens, patients, healthcare and public health professionals, civil society organisations, we work for the common good, and we can and should play a vital role in achieving the sustainable development goals, Health 2020 and WHO’s general programme of work. 

We look forward to our continued collaboration and participation in the WHO Regional Committee for Europe. 

Thank you,

On behalf of the 19 accredited non-State actors

Alzheimer Europe  • Association for Medical Education in Europe • Center for Health Policies and Studies (PAS Center) • Centre for Regional Policy Research and Cooperation “Studiorum” • Eurocare (European Alcohol Policy Alliance)  • EuroHealthNet • European Association for the Study of the Liver • European Cancer Organisation  • European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations  • European Federation of the Associations of Dietitians  • European Forum for Primary Care • European Forum of Medical Associations • European Forum of National Nursing and Midwifery Associations  • European Medical Students’ Association  • European Public Health Alliance  • European Public Health Association • Health Care Without Harm • Standing Committee of European Doctors • Wemos



[1] As listed in EUR/RC68/13 Engagement with non-State actors: Accreditation of regional non-State actors not in official relations with WHO to attend meetings of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe.

Statements to the 68th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe

Health ministers and high-level representatives of the 53 Member States of the WHO European Region as well as partner organisations and civil society will take part in the 68th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in Rome, Italy.

EuroHealthNet is presenting two statements. The full text can be found below.

On Item 5.d: ‘Can people afford to pay for health care? New evidence on financial protection in Europe’

We stress the need for European Member States to urgently act on the guidance issued. Health ministries should use available policy instruments such as the European Pillar of Social Rights and the Semester, the annual economic and fiscal guidance for individual Member States.

At the EU level, financial protection must be incorporated into the social fairness legislation and the 2019  Semester process.

On Items 5.e and 5.j,  Reports on the WHO high-level meetings on Health Systems in Sitges and Tallinn

We note that non-communicable disease epidemics are growing and are strongly related to the persistent health inequalities in Europe. Tackling NCDs requires urgent and joint action where health systems have a pivotal role. Most of the factors associated with NCDs are largely preventable, and require a stronger health promotion and disease prevention response.

Health systems must engage in tackling broader societal determinants, in particular with regard to the social gradient of inequalities, using their knowledge and experience.

As the WHO wants to transform health systems and not leave anyone behind, we suggest developing a much more explicit and meaningful approach to integrating health promotion and social determinants- approaches throughout the system, with an increased role in primary care services.

Joint Position Paper on The European Commission’s InvestEU proposal

This Position Paper represents the view of the main representatives of the social services, health, education, social housing and ageing sectors at European level. We have joined forces to help unlock investment into local innovative social infrastructure projects which would help to further improve the quality of service provision across the continent. Moreover, by delivering services based on the needs of the people they serve, Public Authorities will both increase public satisfaction and reduce costs.

How can the EU’s post-2020 budget fight child poverty and social exclusion? Recommendations for the ESF+ and the Common Provision Regulations

The EU Alliance for Investing in Children, of which EuroHealthNet is part, has issued a statement including recommendations for the ESF+ and Common Provision Regulations

Poverty severely impact children’s health and their ability to develop their talents and capabilities, to establish relationships, and to learn. Poverty is carried on from one generation to another and severely undermines social cohesion and participation in society. If Member States and EU institutions want to fulfil their “commitment to work towards a social Europe” as declared in the joint Proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, Member States need to start by firmly reducing poverty and investing in children and families in vulnerable situations.


Letter to EPSCO council: It’s in your hands – the fate of working parents and carers across Europe depends on you


It’s in your hands – the fate of working parents and carers across Europe depends on you

Time for the EPSCO Council to adopt a position on the EU Work-Life Balance directive

Brussels, 18 June 2018

Dear Ministers,

We represent, via our European umbrella organisations, 3.471 NGOs and 89 trade union confederations. Our call is joint with the Presidents and Vice-Presidents of three political groups in the European Parliament, the Rapporteur and shadow Rapporteurs of five political groups, and the Presidents and Vice Presidents of three Intergroups and Coalitions of the European Parliament, together with the Presidents of two groups in the European Economic and Social Committee.

We urge you to respect European citizens and their representatives by moving forward and adopting a Council position on the proposal for a Directive on Work-Life Balance for parents and carers at your meeting on 21st June 2018.

On this date, you will be asked to position yourself in favour or against the Council position on the EU Work-Life Balance Directive. With your decision, you will not only express your country position on a text, but you will also decide on the fate of millions of parents and carers in the European Union: people who struggle every day to juggle their responsibilities towards their children, families and other people with support needs, with their working lives.

The existing EU legal and institutional framework fails to sufficiently address challenges faced by its citizens and does not provide adequate solutions for the needs of modern societies. This proposed directive includes provisions for improving equal sharing of work and care between women and men, by introducing minimum standards for paid paternity leave,  paid parental leave, carers leave and flexible working arrangements for parents and carers.

The proposal for a Directive on Work-Life Balance is the right way forward and we urge you to adopt a Council position and not further delay the adoption of a general approach.

All EU Heads of State and Governments, together with the EU Institutions, proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights in Gothenburg in November 2017 and this directive is the first concrete output that would transform the principles of the Pillar into reality, providing improvements to the lives of millions of parents and carers.

The European Commission published the proposal for a directive on 26 April 2017. The European Social and Economic Committee delivered its opinion, in broad support of the proposal, in December 2017. The European Parliament has a clear calendar of works: the Legal Affairs Committee and the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee have already voted on their respective opinions and the Employment and Social Affairs Committee will vote in the coming weeks. All these procedures are transparent and European citizens can follow them step by step, exposing the elected representatives to scrutiny.

On the contrary, the deliberations in the Council are not subject to the same level of transparency. This can lead to indefinite postponement of decisions, with the excuse that a compromise cannot be reached among the national delegations with citizens left in the dark about why there is a lack of progress.

More than a year after its publication and one year from the 2019 European elections, it is now time for you to take up your responsibility and secure that citizens recover trust in the European project and its social dimension.

Working parents and their families as well as carers and those who depend on them do not have time to lose.

Please do not waste this opportunity to show your citizens you care about them.


COFACE Families Europe

AGE Platform Europe

Alzheimer Europe

Autism Europe

European Disability Forum




European Network for Independent Living

European Women’s Lobby

European Youth Forum

ILGA Europe

Inclusion Europe

International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus

Make Mothers Matter

Mental Health Europe

Social Platform

SOS Children’s Villages International


European Trade Union Confederation – ETUC


Udo Bullman MEP, S&D President

Philippe Lamberts MEP, Greens/EFA Co-President

Monika Vana MEP, Greens/EFA Vice-President

Gabriele Zimmer MEP, GUE/NGL President


David Casa MEP, EMPL Rapporteur and EPP EMPL coordinator

Maria Arena MEP, S&D EMPL shadow rapporteur

Agnes Jongerius MEP, S&D EMPL coordinator

Vilija Blinkeviciute MEP, S&D FEMM shadow rapporteur

Iraxte Garcia-Perez MEP, S&D FEMM coordinator

Jana Zitnanska, MEP, ECR EMPL shadow rapporteur

Ernest URTASUN MEP, Greens/EFA FEMM shadow rapporteur and co-coordinator

Terry Reintke MEP, Greens/EFA FEMM co-coordinator

Tania Gonzales Penas MEP, GUE/NGL EMPL shadow Rapporteur


Olga Senhalova MEP, President Disability intergroup

Brando Benifei MEP, Vice-Chair, Disability Intergroup

Marek Plura, MEP, Vice President of the Disability Intergroup

Miriam Dalli MEP, Chair of the Coalition for Mental Health and Wellbeing in the EP  

Daniele Viotti MEP, co-Chair of the LGBTI Intergroup


Gabriele Bischoff, President of the Workers' Group, European Economic and Social Committee.

R.A. Arno Metzler, President of the Diversity Europe Group, European Economic and Social Committee

Put strong investments in public health at heart of a more social European Semester and the next EU’s budget.

On 18th June, EuroHealthNet sent the following open letter to Health and Social Ministers, and Health and Social attaches.

Brussels, 18 June 2018

Re: Put strong investments in public health at heart of a more social European Semester and the next EU budget.

Dear Ministers of Health and Social Policy,

Dear Health and Social Policy Attaches,

Ahead of the 21-22 June EPSCO Council, I am writing to you on behalf of EuroHealthNet, a European partnership of not-for-profit organisations working on reducing health inequalities.

As the EPSCO Council meets to discuss the 2018 European Semester, EuroHealthNet takes this opportunity to highlight the entry points that the Semester process offers for shifting investments from health care to financing for health promotion, disease prevention and health equity[1].

Inequality has widened in our societies. The economic recovery has not yet reached all members of society to an equal degree and inequality of opportunities persist. Encouraged by progress in applying the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights and its Social Scoreboard to date, we support the Semester’s potential contribution to monitoring social, health, and well-being policies. A move to a more social European Semester is good for health and for reducing health inequalities. However, we also need to see it followed by ambitious investment commitments.

EuroHealthNet reiterates its long-standing concern that prioritisation and direct funding for health promotion, disease prevention, and health equity remain insufficient to make sustainable impact. European Commission’s own analysis of the European Semester’s process shows that health-related Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) receive the least attention and the lowest level of national implementation of all other areas. Furthermore, the health-related CSRs tend to neglect reference to strengthening primary, community-based care and preventative approaches, as well as integrated and inter-sectoral cooperation. There appears to be little opportunity for relevant stakeholders at national and local levels to engage and contribute their insight and good practices – this is fundamental to national ownership and high implementation rate.

EU level technical and political guidance as to which areas require urgent reform must be in line with EU budgetary plans, in particular the current legislative proposals on various funds and programmes under the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-27. That is why it will be important to bring the messages of health promotion and health equity to the attention of the EU Council scheduled to hold a political debate on the next EU’s long-term budget at its meeting of 28-29 June 2018. It is crucial that Ministers for Health and Social Policy get engaged in those discussions, as the issue is too important to be left to pure economic and financial deliberations.

We trust you will do all that is in your powers to place health equity and health promotion high at the European Semester and the next EU’s budget’s political agenda. Investing in what keeps people healthy and in the places and communities in which they live, learn and work should be one of the measures to support health systems’ fiscal sustainability and capacity. In addition, health promotion contributes to human capital at all ages, advancing children’s attainment in school and working-age people’s productivity in the labour market. Investing in the health of older people allows them to remain in paid work or to otherwise contribute to society for longer.

To make this happen, you can count on our continuous support and collaboration.

Yours faithfully,

Caroline Costongs                                                      





[1] EuroHealthNet (2018). EuroHealthNet calls for new and improved approaches to financing for health promotion and health equity. Statement.

EuroHealthNet General Council Statement June 2018

EuroHealthNet General Council Statement June 2018

The EuroHealthNet General Council, meeting in Brussels 6-7 June 2017, notes:

  • Learning from the EuroHealthNet Policy Seminar “Smart Investments – Let’s talk prevention” held in Brussels on 5 June, including:
    • The need for shifts to health promotion and disease prevention;
    • How to ensure smart use of available funds;
    • How to set up innovative structures;
    • How to encourage funders to use powers for investment shifts;
  • Publications to date of European Commission proposals for a Multi-Annual Financial Framework for the EU 2021-27, including the proposed new ESF+ group of programmes and the Horizon Europe Programme;
  • Continuing discussion of proposals for the future roles and powers of the EU, including during European Parliament elections to be held 23-26 May 2019,
  • Progress on the European Pillar of Social Rights, including towards strengthening of the European Semester for economic and social policy coordination;
  • Adoption by the 71st World Health Assembly of the 13th multiannual General Programme of Work for WHO, in the context of UN Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals.

EuroHealthNet reiterates its concern that prioritisation and direct funding for health promotion, public health, disease prevention and social equity remain insufficient to successfully achieve all goals and objectives set globally, in the EU, at national and regional levels.

EuroHealthNet confirms that the future for health lies with effective health promotion and prevention of diseases, through community based services linking people and professionals to shape the conditions for health equity and wellbeing.

EuroHealthNet expresses regret that European Commission proposals for a future EU health programme 2021-7 (while suggesting benefits of integrated approaches within the ESF+ and Horizon Europe programmes) nevertheless :

  • include reductions of already modest funds and address insufficient explicit attention to health promotion; 
  • do not sufficiently address how growing levels of  non-communicable diseases and health inequalities  will be tackled;
  • do not sufficiently promote health and wellbeing in other proposed programmes impacting on health determinants, specifically proposals regarding the Common Agricultural Policy.

Therefore EuroHealthNet calls on the EU Council and Parliament to consider improvements to the MFF that fully implement the EU Treaty requirements to protect health in all policies, and to promote wellbeing, cohesion and equity. EuroHealthNet commends:

  • The inspirational examples set out at the seminar “Smart Investments – Let’s Talk Prevention” by implementers, innovators, legislators and practitioners; and calls for them to be applied and scaled up systematically where appropriate for health improvements at all levels;
  • Improvements to the European Semester towards better social and health policy tools and instruments with real potential impacts in Member States; and calls for health and social equity stakeholders and investors to actively engage with positive national programmes.
  • The REJUVENATE framework developed by the Executive Board, agreed by the EuroHealthNet General Council in 2017 as a contribution towards 21st century health promotion.

EuroHealthNet commits to mobilise the collective knowledge, skills and experience of its members to:

  • Help investment decision makers to become more health and equity literate through understanding evidence on the benefits, cost saving, and cost effectiveness of health promotion and disease prevention, by developing evidence based guidelines, impact assessments etc;
  • Help members, partners and health stakeholders become more financially literate and engage better with relevant funding and investment institutions, agencies and investors, building on legislative and other examples towards more timely and “bankable” initiatives including social and health impact bonds and other instruments;
  • Identify intermediaries and alliances to help develop suitable short, medium and long term proposals, projects and ways to bundle and scale up innovation, good and promising practices and useful infrastructures;
  • Help to overcome barriers of cross sectoral governance, stewardship and exclusion of key stakeholders by enabling, understanding multiple roles and shifts, building common metrics;

And generally contribute to:

  • The development of EU Programmes towards better funding and activity support for Health in all EU Policies and activities; and improve the implementation of commitments for wellbeing, social equity, health promotion and disease prevention within the EU Treaties;
  • Incorporating and stimulating transformative advances through innovative approaches and emerging digital technologies; while safeguarding the physical and mental wellbeing of people throughout the life course in the face of rapid changes and disruptions, for example by enhancing health literacy and addressing commercial determinants of health.
  • The universal achievement of aims, objectives, and targets within the UN agenda process and Sustainable Development Goals, including knowledge and capacity building to address targets on tackling incidence of non-communicable (chronic) diseases and inequalities.

The post-2020 MFF must invest in children and aim to end child poverty

Alliance for investing in Children image

More than 20 organisations within the EU Alliance for Investing in Children and the Child Rights Action Group (CRAG) urge the EU institutions and its Member States to invest in children and develop a future Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) that works to end child poverty and promotes the social inclusion of all children in Europe.

The future of Europe depends on investing in children, in particular in children and families in vulnerable situations. The EU and its Member States need to act urgently to protect around 25 million children estimated to be living in or at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

 The EU Alliance for Investing in Children proposes the following recommendations to ensure that the next MFF invests in children:
Ending child poverty and social exclusion in Europe should be a clear and visible priority in the next MFF.

  • STRUCTURE AND SIZE: The size of the next MFF should be adequate to fight child poverty and ensure child well-being in Europe:
  • APPROACH: The next MFF should promote a life cycle approach to social investment and social protection:
  • SUPPORT THE NATIONAL LEVEL: The EU funds aiming at poverty reduction and social inclusion under the next MFF should encourage national poverty reduction strategies and action plans:
  • SIMPLIFICATION: The simplification of the rules of the future MFF should aim to further promote the engagement of stakeholders, including CSOs, and increase adequate funds absorption:

Call to action on Migration and health

EuroHealthNet has joined a call for better EU action on migrant health.

The joint paper calls for:

  1. A more holistic, human-centred approach to migration and health Implementation of a robust “health in all” policy, consistent with the EU’s treaty obligations, so that policies in other sectors do not undermine, and where possible support, Europe’s duty to safeguard the right to health, without discrimination.
  2. Specific and focused initiatives addressing discrimination as a determinant of health, such as funding for research on the impact of stigma and discrimination experienced by migrants and ethnic minorities on their health; and a commitment by European institutions to ending the use of dehumanizing language that refers to any person or form of migration and “illegal”.
  3. Concrete steps to mitigate the health-related effects of immigration control, such as integrating an explicit family perspective into immigration policy, enacting a clear policy against the detention of children and their families, and the development of guidelines to promote trust in public institutions and the health system by prohibiting the exchange of data for immigration control purposes.
  4. More and better data on and analysis of migrant and ethnic minority health to better understand and to address in a targeted way health inequalities experienced by migrants and ethnic minorities, and integration of migration status and ethnicity into measures of universal health coverage and social determinants.
  5. More focus on structural, rather than stop-gap, change to health systems that encourages the adoption of sustainable approaches, grounded in established rights, norms and evidence, and consider specific action to address maternal health, consistent with Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 5.

The associated framing document can be found here.(pdf)

The call and framing document have been developed by PICUM.

Consultation Responses

Why tobacco taxation matters for health equity

Tobacco consumption is the most significant cause of premature death in the EU and one that disproportionally affects our poorest and most disadvantaged citizens. Not only are rates of tobacco consumption higher amongst the lowest socio-economic groups, they suffer more from its effects.

EuroHealthNet has summarised it’s knowledge and position on tobacco taxation in a response to a European Commission’s consultation in August 2018. The full response can be found below.

Although the rate of tobacco use has declined, it has not declined enough nor equally amongst all groups. Much more remains to be done. Tobacco taxation is a very cost-effective public health prevention as revenues increase and smoking rates fall.

The use of novel tobacco products looks set to grow. National initiatives to research and regulate e-cigarettes and packaging are encouraging, but while the long – term effects of e-cigarette use remain unknown, caution should prevail. Clinician-led use of novel products can have a place in tobacco cessation services,  along with increased health literacy and health education as part of wider health promotion approach. However, unregulated and fully open markets can perpetuate the sale of harmful products, exploiting the vulnerability and inequalities experienced by certain groups

The EuroHealthNet partnership strongly supports the continued increase of excise duties and taxation on traditional tobacco products and the consistent excise treatment of e-cigarettes as an equivalent product to tobacco

In response to the consultation response, EuroHealthNet expresses:

  • Strong support for the further increase of tobacco taxes and the EU wide harmonisation of fiscal policy with regard to e-cigarettes, to bring their treatment into line with that of conventional tobacco products
  • Strong support for effective and comprehensive regulation at European level, including agreement on a common fiscal definition and the establishment of distinct category for e-cigarettes in EU excise legislation
  • Strong support for the adoption of an intelligent and contextual approach to regulation to mitigate the risk of e-cigarettes becoming a ‘gateway’ product to tobacco, particularly amongst those who are young and/or vulnerable
  • A cautious endorsement for the use of e-cigarettes as one element of properly planned and supervised smoking cessation programmes.

Consultation on the integration of the long - term unemployed into the labour market

In June 2018, EuroHealthNet replied to the European Commission's consultation on the integration of long - term unemployed into the labour market

EuroHealthNet urges EU institutions to address the imperative of addressing the health, social, economic and structural barriers linked to the (un-)employment, in particular of people with chronic diseases, to ensure that all people can meaningfully contribute to economies and societies . with special attention to quality work. It is also necessary to increasingly apply a structural approach recognising that EU goes beyond individual choice.

Response to inception impact assessment on the future Recommendation on Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care

EuroHealthNet submitted a response to the inception impact assessment on the future Recommendation on Quality in Early Childhood Education and Care, April 2018.

It also submitted a joint response as part of the alliance for investing in Children.

EuroHealthNet’s policy recommendations are:

  • The QECEC Recommendation should make a clear connection to health equity and wellbeing over the life course.
  • The QECEC Recommendation should promote the investment in early years to support good quality early years education and childcare provided in a proportionate way across the social gradient. Support for families should be improved by investing in pre- and post-natal interventions, encouraging parental leave, ensuring the income for a decent life, as well as through parenting programmes and children’s centres including outreach interventions to identify the most vulnerable and provide targeted support.
  • Use the European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund to implement early child health and development interventions in areas of social deprivation.
  • Foster the implementation of the EC Recommendation on Investing in Children, which calls on MS to support parents into paid work and improve access to affordable early year’s childcare, education, and healthcare.
  • Connect the initiative to the EU Semester (Country Specific Recommendations, National Reform Programmes, and the Social Scoreboard – in the latter is it necessary to broaden the use of indicators to “children at the risk of poverty and social exclusion”).
  • Connect the initiative to the European Pillar of Social Rights (Principle 11: Childcare and Support to Children; the Social Scoreboard; the Work-Life Balance Directive).

Consultation on the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF)

EuroHealthNet has submitted three specific responses to the EU Public Consultation on the future EU revenue and expenditure priorities for 2021-27, known as the post 2020 MFF.

The three submitted questionnaire responses provide answers on EU funds in the area of:

  • Health, Research & Innovation in the Single Market;
  • Cohesion
  • Values & mobility

A short summary document of the responses and the three submmitted contributions can be downloaded by clicking on the links below.

Consultatons on vaccinations

In February 2018 EuroHealthNet responded to stakeholder and public consultations on vaccination.

The document below summarises EuroHealthNet’s response to the European Commission’s consultations on possible activities to be included in a proposal for a Council Recommendation on Strengthened Cooperation against Vaccine Preventable Diseases, which will be adopted mid-2018.

It addresses three aspects:

  1. Tackling vaccine hesitancy at national and EU level;
  2. Sustainable vaccine policies in the EU;
  3. EU coordination, including the promotion of stakeholder dialogue, and contribution to global health.

From a health equity perspective EuroHealthNet considers that priority should be given to addressing the needs and fulfilling the right to health of the underserved. This requires better commitment, investment and outreach programmes to tackle the under coverage of marginalised, migrant, or socially disadvantaged children and families. It is important to invest in health promotion and education programmes, and fight vaccine hesitancy by providing transparent and evidence-based information to the public in targeted and tailored ways.



Joint Statement on Improving the Employment of People with Chronic Diseases in Europe

EuroHealthNet has signed a joint paper on issues relating to the employment of people with chronic diseases. The accompanying framing paper offers recommendations to EU and national policymakers to address the identified challenges, and urges the European Commission and EU Member States to include them in their actions to address chronic diseases as well as in strategies on social equity and on employment, jobs and growth.

The Post‐2020 MFF Must Invest in Children and Aim to End Child Poverty

EuroHealthNet and other members of the EU alliance for investing in children have urged the EU institutions and its Member States to invest in children and develop a future MFF that works to end child poverty and promotes the social inclusion of all children in Europe.

The joint statement explains:

‘The future of Europe depends on investing in children, in particular in children and families in vulnerable situations. The EU and its Member States need to act urgently to protect around 25 million children estimated to be living in or at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

Growing up in poverty can negatively affect children's opportunities for the rest of their lives, with far reaching consequences ‐ for instance, on their future education, health, participation in the labour market and society. Acting early on child poverty and investing in early childhood education and care is not only a moral imperative, it is also a cost‐effective measure.’

What is the future of Public Health Policy within the European Union?

As the commercial and political determinants of health become increasingly shaped at supra-national levels, there is a clear and pressing need and role for an EU that is actively and visibly at the forefront promoting improvement for the health of European citizen’ states EuroHealthNet President Nicoline Tamsma along with Natasha Azzopardi-Muscat, Katarzyna Czabanowska, and Archie Turnbull in an article for the European Journal of Public health by leaders of European health organisations. It looks at the impact of a changing Europe on public health policy, and what role public health could have in future European scenarios.

Statements to the 67th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe

The 67th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, held in Budapest, Hungary, 11–14 September 2017 brought together the 53 Member States of the WHO European Region as well as partner organizations.

EuroHealthNet presented statements on ‘Roadmap to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, building on Health 2020 -the European policy for health and well-being’ (agenda item 5a) as well as on the 'outcomes of the Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health' (agenda item 5b).

A written statement covering both agenda items (.pdf) stresses that a 'determinants approach' to health, is the best way to link public health and the sustainability agenda. It covers active mobilisation of other sectors, achieving a participatory society, guidance on the commercial determinants of health, and Strengthening public health and health promotion institutions 

Oral statements on Item 5a and 5b are also available.

The continued need for public health research in Europe

 EUPHA EuroHealthNet EPHA.png

On the 9th of June 2017, the EU’s Scientific Panel for Health is organising its second annual conference on: ‘Health research in a connected and participative society’. The European Public Health Association – EUPHA, EuroHealthNet and the European Public Health Alliance – EPHA, welcome this conference, and especially the priority it will give to participative and collaborative research. However, having read the programme, with its focus on health technology, digital innovation and health care, it risks missing an opportunity to promote research that could bring major benefits to the health of Europe’s citizens. Specifically, we are concerned that there is insufficient attention to public health research. Such research, seeking to develop population-level responses to the growing burden of diseases, and especially of multi-morbidity, can offer innovative means to prevent and protect health by tackling some of the major drivers of the overall burden of disease.

Read the full statement (pdf)

EU: Do More for Health

EU: Do More for Health

Health is absolutely and unequivocally a core business of the EU

EuroHealthNet is part of a campaign calling on the European Commission to step up coordinated EU action to tackle cross-border health challenges.

Visit the campaign page

Our letter to President Juncker:

Dear President Juncker,

We, the undersigned organisations, representing EU health stakeholders, wish to express our grave concern about the future of health in European policies and programmes, in the light of your White Paper on the Future of Europe, and propose an urgent meeting with you and your services on this topic.

Our determined view, shared by the vast majority of EU citizens, is that health is absolutely and unequivocally a core business of the EU. Protection of a high level of human health and wellbeing is entrenched in the Treaties of the European Union.1 EU collaboration in the field of health is indispensable for the future of Europe and rebuilding the trust of citizens in the European Union. We need more health to unlock the full potential of economic and social policies.

70% of Europeans want the EU to do more for health, according to the most recent Eurobarometer survey. With such a strong, unequivocal demand from EU citizens for more action in the field of health, it is essential that this is not only maintained, but actually enhanced. The EU needs to continue deliver results that make a tangible difference in the daily lives of its citizens and thus re-establish people’s trust in its institutions.

Health protection and improvement is a great success story of the European Union

View the PDF to read the full letter

Call and commitment for action to take REJUVENATE forward 2017 – 2020


The EuroHealthNet statement on Promoting Health and Well Being towards 2030 and the REJUVENATE Framework for Health Promotion was developed in 2016 in consultation with EuroHealthNet members and partners, and in preparation for the 9th Global Conference on Health Promotion.

The purpose of this call and commitment for action is to remind, encourage and strengthen the implementation of EuroHealthNet statement and Framework over the coming years.

The EuroHealthNet General Council, meeting in Helsinki on 1-2 June 2017, noting developments since its previous annual meeting in 2016:

A: at international and European levels, including:

  • The Shanghai Declaration on promoting health in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  • The EC proposal for an EU Pillar of Social Rights;
  • The EC White Paper on the Future of the EU;
  • The WHO Europe Paris Conference on inter-sectoral actions for health and wellbeing;
  • The EU Communication on implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, and national voluntary reviews; The State of Health in the EU initiative

B: Key publications brought forward by EuroHealthNet, including:

  • Statement on health inequalities co-signed by 30 members of the EU Health Policy Forum
  • Position statements on the proposed EU Pillar of Social Rights;
  • The EuroHealthNet Annual Report 2016-2017
  • The INHERIT baseline evidence on moving, consuming and living in the EU;
  • The CHRODIS ’12 steps’ recommendations on tackling chronic diseases;

C: Key points from its seminar on “Tackling health inequalities in a fast changing world” at the General Council meeting in Helsinki, 31 May 2017

  • Health is a political choice; improving and sustaining it should be a high priority for the future of the EU. Joining forces across policies and sectors, sharing responsibilities, and mutually reinforcing efforts by collective investments and responsibilities are of utmost importance.
  • Health inequalities vary substantially between and within countries. Gaps must be closed by fairer allocation of resources, priorities and by taking advantage of the most effective, integrated health, employment and social systems and policies.
  • Innovation, the digital agenda and experiments must go hand in hand with equity and wellbeing objectives, and take account of developments in technology, employment and welfare investments.

1. CALLS ON policy makers, practitioners and researchers to also take forward, support, implement and improve the REJUVENATE framework and promote health in a rapidly changing world by:


2. AND to join us in our commitment to take the ten REJUVENATE steps towards the 2030 agenda for health promotion and sustainable development by being:

  • Responsive: adapt to challenges and use new opportunities;
  • Equitable: address the causes of the causes;
  • Joined Up: build partnerships and governance across sectors;
  • Updated:  be proactive and smart to influence 21st century realities;
  • Value driven: develop values and rights for health in new contexts;
  • Ethical: apply and promote the fairest standards in all we do;
  • New: create and implement new ideas;
  • Active: practice inclusive engagement;
  • Technological: understand and apply technical and digital advances;
  • Ecological: sustain and protect our environments

3. COMMITS to help to take forward, lead and support efforts towards sustainable health equity and wellbeing by:

  • Stepping up our efforts to tackling the determinants of health and inequities.
  • Applying a life-course approach, to leave no one behind, also acknowledging that disadvantages accumulate over life and a good start in life is key.
  • Supporting healthy places, environments and communities;
  • Involving new allies at all levels and develop partnerships.
  • Strengthening health promoting systems, and ensuring that health systems are equitable.
  • Strengthening public health and health promotion research, innovation and evaluation, also promoting the use of evidence, information and research for policy and practice.

EuroHealthNet will monitor and review progress through its Executive Board and evaluations at its annual General Council Meetings.   --  Helsinki, June 2 2017.


European networks’ response to the Staff Working Document taking stock of the implementation of the 2013 Recommendation on ‘Investing in Children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage’

European networks’ response to the Staff Working Document taking stock of the implementation of the 2013 Recommendation on ‘Investing in Children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage’

Analysing the European Commission’s staff working document taking stock of the implementation of the Recommendation on ‘Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage’,[1] many of the partner organisations of the EU Alliance for Investing in Children are pleased to see that the document recognises the crucial role played by civil society, and by the EU Alliance in particular as key stakeholders.

The document provides an honest overview of the current implementation status of the Recommendation at EU and Member States level. It reiterates the message that investing in children is not only an ethical imperative, but also cost-effective for society as a whole. We commend that the document reflects the holistic, three-pillar approach of the Recommendation and mentions the specific situation of particularly disadvantaged groups of children (single-parent and large families, Roma children, children with disabilities, children in alternative care, homeless children, children in migration). We also share the Commission’s belief that EU funding – also in the post 2020 financial framework – is crucial for the delivery of the Recommendation. However, we regret that the document does not include a roadmap for the implementation of the Recommendation. We believe that establishing a visible communicable plan with specific objectives and key milestones, would have been an extremely helpful tool.

The staff-working document recognises the essential role that the European Semester plays in monitoring national child and family policies, however we strongly believe further action is needed to ensure that children’s rights and family support are at the heart of the Semester cycle.

The package launched by the European Commission on 26 April urges Europe to rebalance its social and economic priorities. We welcome the reference to child poverty within the European Pillar of Social Rights, however, we are concerned that it is still unclear how it will contribute to the implementation of the Investing in Children Recommendation, especially as the latter is addressed to all EU Member States and not just to the Eurozone countries. Furthermore, we believe indicators in the new Social Scoreboard should be aligned to monitor progress on the implementation of the Recommendation.

While we would have expected the document to include a more forward-looking perspective, we assess the staff working document as a good starting point to develop further actions to be taken, both at national and EU level, and to foster the implementation of the Recommendation. Our European networks and our national members look forward to working with EU institutions and the national authorities to further this specific agenda.

Notes to the editors:

The EU Alliance for Investing in Children has been advocating for a multidimensional, rights-based approach to tackling child poverty and promoting child well-being since 2014.

This statement was endorsed by the following partner organisations of the EU Alliance for Investing in Children: Caritas Europa, COFACE Families Europe, Don Bosco International, European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN), EASPD European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD), Eurochild, Eurodiaconia, EuroHealthNet, European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA), European Parents’ Association (EPA), Mental Health Europe, Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM), Save the Children, SOS Children’s Villages International.

[1] The Recommendation on ‘Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage’ was adopted by the European Commission in February 2013.

Joint statement about young people’s social inclusion on the occasion of the Annual Convention on Inclusive Growth (ACIG) 2017

This year, the Annual Convention focusses on young people’s social inclusion and on good practices to respond to their complex needs. Today, we highlight several important aspects for the development of European youth policy and practice:

  • Develop integrated services for vulnerable young people: Young people are a diverse group, among them are young people in public care, young carers, unaccompanied migrant children, young people with mental health problems or disabilities, and early school leavers. They often find themselves in challenging life circumstances that require integrated support from different professionals, be that social workers, teachers, carers, mental health professionals, or job coaches.
  • Respond to the needs of young carers across Europe: Young carers are children and young adults who provide care for a parent or relative in the community, usually within their own home. They can perform the most personal and intimate of tasks, often without any help or support from welfare agencies. Many young carers provide care at great personal expense - they are deprived of their childhood, few have established friendships or other support networks. Young carers are at greater risk of not completing their formal education and are less able to enter into higher education reducing their life chances and increasing their social exclusion.
  • Address the causes of ill health and the barriers to well-being: Poor mental and physical health, and the unhealthy environments and behaviours which cause them, can block young people from the labour market. Subsequent financial and social exclusion leads to further ill health, leading to a viscous cycle and long-term negative impacts. To effectively address these challenges and build resilient labour markets, we need to tackle risks for ill health and barriers to well-being. Support should focus on the needs of the most vulnerable, as they are most affected.

This is a shared statement signed by three different European networks about young people’s social inclusion and complements the jointly prepared ACIG session on “Barriers and success factors to facilitate young people’s social and labour market participation”.

The EUROPEAN SOCIAL NETWORK is the network for local public social services

EUROHEALTHNET is a partnership of organisations, agencies and statutory bodies working to improve health, equity, and wellbeing.

EUROCARERS is the network representing informal carers and their organisations

John Halloran           

Caroline Costongs

Stecy Yghemonos

The Europe we want: Just, Sustainable, Democratic and Inclusive

As we mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, we have a momentous opportunity to take stock of how far Europe has come – and how far we still have to go in order to offer a sustainable and prosperous future to everyone in Europe. It is an opportunity that we call on you, the leaders of Europe, to seize with both hands. We call on you to show leadership, vision and courage to set Europe on the path to a sustainable future which realises the rights of all people and respects planetary boundaries.

In March 2017 EuroHealthNet joined this Common appeal to European leaders by European Civil Society Organisations and Trade Unions

Call for actions for health and equity

Noting the high levels of health inequalities in many EU countries, 30 EU health organisations call on European Institutions and Member State governments to recognise the central role that health and health equity play in building strong and sustainable social market economies.

We also urge European Institutions and EU Member States to put health inequalities at the forefront of their health related priorities, as a topic in and of itself, and to place a stronger emphasis on health equity as an indicator, not only of how health systems are performing, but of how well Member States and the EU are delivering well-being for their people.

This Joint Statement was developed by EuroHealthNet in collaboration with a number of organisations that are part of the EU Health Policy Platform and which have endorsed the Statement. Its purpose is to send a strong message from health organisations across the EU of the urgent need for action on health equity, taken within and beyond health systems, to ensure the well-being of all EU citizens.

On the proposal by the European Commission to establish an European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR).

This Position is the overall view of EuroHealthNet, regarding the announcement in 2016 that the European Commission is considering establishment of a “European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR)”. The Position has been adopted by the EuroHealthNet Executive Board.

It is published for the attention of EU Institutions, other international organisations and a wide range of relevant stakeholders at international, national and sub national levels, to help inform them of the relevance and importance of health, equity and wellbeing in this potential development, and to raise awareness for all interested citizens and bodies on the opportunities and challenges this initiative presents.

In addition to this overall Position, EuroHealthNet will also submit and publish its specific evidence based Response related to health and social equity to the online EC Public Consultation in advance of the deadline in December 2016.

Furthermore, EuroHealthNet is engaged in dialogues as part of wider public consultation in Member States and at international levels, for example via the EU Public Health Policy Forum and Platform.

Subsequently, EuroHealthNet will contribute to public and EU Institutional debates on the anticipated “proposal” and “related initiatives” announced by the EC in its 2017 Work Programme.

Consultation Responses

Consultation on health and care in the digital single market

EuroHealthNet responded to the public consultation on transformation of health and care in the
digital single market

Communication on Digital transformation of health and care in the context of the Digital Single Market

EuroHealthNet welcomes the consultation towards a Roadmap for the EC Communication on this subject. The collaboration between DGs CONNECT and SANTE is particularly important; however this should be extended to ensure cohesion with other relevant DGs and EU
instruments such as the EU Semester processes and the potential EU Pillar of Social Rights. Mention of the need to address health inequalities is welcome; however this is potentially both a key positive and negative factor and should be more prominent. Since the 2009 Communication Solidarity in Health it is increasingly recognised that health inequalities cost EU governments significantly: they reduce people’s ability to contribute to society, undermine economic growth and prosperity, and increase health, social care and wider public expenditures.

Digital technologies do offer new opportunities to transform health care systems, including new approaches to personalised prevention, treatments and care, independent living, integrated health and social care, accelerated scientific progress for early diagnosis and prevention of diseases. However, there are significant risks and obstacles of inequitable implementation including safety, access, effectiveness and authority.

Consultation on EU urban agenda

EuroHealthNet responded to the consultation on the EU urban agena in relation to air quality, inclusion of migrants & refugees, and urban poverty.

Modernising and Simplifying the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

EuroHealthNet responded to the EU survey Modernising and Simplifying the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

mid-term evaluation of the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI)

EuroHealthNet responded to the mid-term evaluation of the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI)

Public Consultation for the Evaluation of the EU Agencies: EUROFOUND, CEDEFOP, ETF and EUOSHA

EuroHealthNet responded to the Public Consultation for the Evaluation of the EU Agencies: EUROFOUND, CEDEFOP, ETF and EUOSHA

Public Consultation on the European Solidarity Corps

EuroHealthNet responded to the Public Consultation on the European Solidarity Corps

Tobacco Excise

EuroHealthNet responded to the Public consultation  on Excise duties applied to manufactured tobacco

Evaluation of the long-term unemployed recommendation

This feedback builds upon the impact long term unemployment (LTU) has on health inequalities (HI). HI cost EU governments significantly: they reduce people’s ability to contribute to society, undermine economic growth and prosperity, and increase health, social care and wider public expenditures.

The link between unemployment and ill health is well established. Unemployment has a higher negative on health for people from low socio-economic groups. Unsurprisingly, LTU sees effects on ill health compounded: people experience negative pressures on their physical
and mental health.

Mid-term evaluation of the Third Health Programme

EuroHealthNet contributed to the consultation on the Mid-term evaluation of the Third Health Programme (2014-2020)

Consultation on Digital Health Societies

Digital health is a potential set of tools and instruments within processes to tackle inequities. Digital health offers the advantage of increasing access to disadvantaged populations. However this is not only about access to services, but also an opportunity for empowerment, balancing collective rights (to organise systems for States, Authorities and providers) with individual rights (rights to care, treatment, protection and prevention as set out in the EU Treaty, Charter of Fundamental Rights and potential EU Pillar of Social Rights).

In that context digitalisation of health and care systems could be a key trigger for removing health inequalities, as foreseen in the 2009 EU Communication Solidarity in Health; in the UN Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in the evidence and recommendations of the WHO Commission for Social Determinants of Health (SDH).

EuroHealthNet, the European Partnership for sustainable health promotion, wellbeing and social equity, has identified technological changes as one of the ten greatest priorities to be embraced and applied by public health and health promotion sectors towards 2030 objectives. EuroHealthNet is working with its national and regional members, EU Institutions and WHO Europe on sustainable health systems, health information systems, data use, health determinants and health literacy.


Consultation Responses

Consultation on Evaluation of the Youth policy cooperation in the EU

EuroHealthNet responded to the public consultation on evaluation of the Youth policy cooperation in the EU

Possible action to address the challenges of work-life balance faced by working parents and caregivers

EuroHealthNet responded to the EU survey on possible action to address the challenges of work-life balance faced by working parents and caregivers

Consultation on the Energy Union

EuroHealthNet responded to the public consultation on the development of a comprehensive, integrated Research, Innovation, and Competitiveness Strategy for the Energy Union.

On the proposal by the European Commission to establish a potential European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR)

EuroHealthNet has conditionally welcomed the European Commission (EC) initiative to establish a “European Pillar of Social Rights”. Announcing its overall position after a substantial consultation with members and partners in EU Member States, EuroHealthNet sees the Pillar as an opportunity to clarify unclear objectives and provisions in the EU Treaties and body of laws concerning equality, wellbeing and social determinants of health. EuroHeathNet has made concrete proposals for the implementation of the initiative.

EuroHealthNet warns against risks of increasing inequalities if Eurozone states are treated differently from others, but insists “There can be no EU without a social EU”. Its members feel that many health and social responsibilities should remain with States and sub-national authorities, but there is scope for improvements in existing legislation, plus some important new initiatives.

In particular, EuroHealthNet calls for numerous actions and investment directly related to social and economic factors causing ill-health, plus several innovative ideas for content of the potential Pillar:

  • An EC Vice President with responsibility to ensure implementation of social measures;
  • A new Directive on Social Sustainability using models in development in Sweden and elsewhere;
  • Improved measures to support States address health and social issues in the EU Semester;
  • Alignment of goals and targets with the global 2030 Sustainable Development commitments

Better Research for Better Health: EuroHealthNet's comments and recommendations

EuroHealthNet has been invited to respond in writing to a consultation on the European Commission's Scientific Panel for Health (SPH) Vision paper Better research for better health. The paper presents key recommendations for health and biomedical research under the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme.

While acknowledging that the paper presents some interesting points, EuroHealthNet fears that the paper’s approach is almost exclusively from a biomedical point of view, and calls for a more holistic approach.

Through the consultation’s response, EuroHealthNet highlights how to achieve health and well-being for all the issue should be seen from a wider perspective that considers social and environmental determinants as having as much impact on health as biological and genetic factors.

To access the response from EuroHealthNet, click here.


3 Steps Towards Healthier Marketing




Europe faces a childhood obesity epidemic: up to a third of 11-year-olds is overweight or obese.1 Youth binge drinking is widespread and causes major harm, while nearly half the European youth used alcohol before the age of 13.2 Health problems starting in childhood often last a lifetime.

It is well-established that advertising causes changes in consumption patterns favouring the products advertised.3 Nevertheless, children and young people in Europe are still daily subjected to the aggressive marketing of alcohol and foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS).

The current revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) is the opportunity to free Europe’s children and youth from health-harmful marketing. Undersigned organisations call on Members of the European Parliament to grasp this opportunity and improve the Directive.

A new Europe for people, planet and prosperity for all

Europe is at a crossroads, and the future of European cooperation and the benefits it brings are at stake. This is about the future of our society and how we want to be viewed by the wider world. The future of our planet and the kind of Europe our children will grow up in. The current crisis highlights the urgent need to reflect on fundamental questions: how do we ensure that the European project reclaims its promise of peace, democracy and solidarity? How can Europe work for its people?

Too many people across Europe are dissatisfied and disillusioned with the European Union and feel remote from its institutions and policies. But there are groups of committed politicians, trade unions, community groups and non-governmental organisations across Europe who are ready to take action and work for a renewed Europe. Together, we can shape a Europe that is inclusive, open, just, sustainable, and that works for people of all ages, social backgrounds and nations.

Where do we go from here to build the Europe we want and need?


Consultation Responses

Consultation Response to the public consultation on long-term unemployment

While responding to this consultation, EuroHealthNet highlighted some of the most relevant evidence-based practices and findings of its FP7 DRIVERS project. Involving prominent research centres and public health, civil society and business organisations, DRIVERS’ goal was to find solutions to improve health equity through policy and practice in (among other areas of focus) fair employment, income and social protection.

This consultation response is an evidenced-based contribution resulting from EuroHealthNet’s FP7-funded DRIVERS project focused on links and best ways to tackle equity through policy in, amongst others, employment and working conditions.

To access the response from EuroHealthNet, click here.


Consultation Responses

EuroHealthNet's response to public consultation on the Europe 2020 strategy

The Europe 2020 strategy was launched in March 2010 as the EU's strategy for promoting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It aims to achieve a knowledge-based, competitive European economy while preserving the EU's social market economy model and improving resource efficiency. It was thus conceived as a partnership between the EU and its Member States driven by the promotion of growth and jobs.

After four years, the Commission has proposed, and the European Council of 20-21 March 2014 has agreed, to initiate a review of the Europe 2020 strategy. On 5 March 2014, the Commission adopted a Communication "Taking stock of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth". drawing preliminary lessons on the first years of implementation of the strategy. Building on these first outcomes and in a context of a gradual recovery of the European economies, it is time to reflect on the design of the strategy for the coming years.

Through these questions, EuroHealthNet, its members and its partners suggest how health and systems can become part of the solution for Europe's ills rather than bes seen as part of the problem. 

Read EuroHealthNet's response to the public consultation on the Europe 2020 stragey here

EuroHealthNet response to the European Commission’s public consultation on the Green paper on mobile Health (mHealth)

Mobile Health (mHealth) is a relevant topic for EuroHealthNet as it bears great potential for novel means of health promotion, disease prevention and healthcare. The use of mobile and wireless technologies can support achievement of various health objectives.

However, EuroHealthNet wants to highlight that there are various aspects that have to be taken into consideration when designing and implementing mHealth solutions. One is that there are different levels of knowledge, skills and capabilities within the social groups, which play an important role in understanding new technologies and the messages it delivers. If they are ignored then mHealth promotion activities and mHealth treatment and monitoring will widen inequalities and create an even bigger health gap between advantaged and disadvantaged groups in society. It is therefore crucial to ensure that the design and application of mHealth is tailored accordingly to the needs and skills of different (social) groups, and that the merits of health technology benefit the whole society.

EuroHealthNet responds to the consultation by focusing and commenting particularly on the questions that are most relevant to health promotion and disease prevention from the social and health equity perspective.